October 20, 2015

Judge Halts Indiana's Ban On Ballot Selfies

A federal judge has halted a new state law banning “ballot selfies.” - stock photo

A federal judge has halted a new state law banning “ballot selfies.”

stock photo

INDIANAPOLIS -- Hoosiers going to the polls next month will be able to take a photo of their ballot after a federal judge halted a new state law banning so-called “ballot selfies.” 

The state said its law banning people from taking pictures of their ballot – whether filled out or not – in the voting booth was to help prevent voter coercion and vote buying and selling.  But federal judge Sarah Evans Barker says the state didn’t show any evidence that those problems exist.  And in a ruling temporarily striking down the law, Barker says the statute is far more likely to punish people who are trying to show their pride in voting than to prevent voter fraud.  

ACLU legal director Ken Falk, whose organization brought the suit challenging the ban, says the judge’s initial ruling bodes well for the chances of permanently striking down the law.

“When you have a situation where there really are not contested facts and all there is is a question of law, frequently the resolution of that question in the preliminary injunction indicates how the matter will be resolved at trial – if it goes to trial,” Falk said.

The state can appeal the judge’s ruling.  In a statement, the Attorney General’s office says it will consult with its clients.

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